8. The End (And What Comes After)
8.1 Collecting & Documenting the Work
At ChairJam Pittsburgh 2019, we began collecting the work for documentation about an hour before the ending ceremony. This was sufficient because we did not have a large amount of teams and thus the collection was mostly painless. We prepared a document detailing how teams should compile their work digitally that was passed around an hour prior. It’s also important to consider collecting physical artifacts from the event. At ChairJam Pittsburgh 2019, we did this by taking photos and videos of any physical creations to be included in the documentation. When it came time for actual collection, one of the organizers went from team to team with a portable hard drive transferring the already formatted work onto the drive. Later, after the event, we uploaded these folders to the ChairJam Github account. This makes the work more easily accessible to anyone interested around the world. Our compilation document is below.
8.2 Ending Ceremony
Once the work has been collected, you should prepare for the ending of the event itself. Holding an ending show-and-tell ceremony gives everyone the chance to display their work and appreciate the work of others. The level of preparation for this presentation varied team by team at ChairJam Pittsburgh 2019. If you’d like everyone to have a prepared slide deck or something analogous, make sure they are aware of that with at least 2 hours of preparation time. That being said, consider first how much time you can dedicate to this ceremony. More teams will naturally take more time. If you cannot accommodate every team giving their own presentation to the crowd, then consider instead having a period of time set aside for everyone to roam around and learn about whichever projects they are personally interested in. This roaming time is valuable even if you have already done individual presentations. Many game jams will end with an awards ceremony. ChairJam Pittsburgh 2019 did not. The event was not meant to be a competition and thus we tried to avoid participants feeling like it was one by awarding one group over others.
8.3 Media Publications
8.3.1 Social Media
Social media enables the team to promote the event and engage with participants.
Getting a story in the local media about your ChairJam is a good way to spread the word about your ChairJam after the event itself. Not only will this help change perceptions, but will also bring attention to any notable prototypes produced at the event. If this is something you are interested in, we recommend reaching out a few weeks before the event to potentially interested local reporters about being the event, taking photos, and potentially running interviews. ChairJam Pittsburgh 2019 specifically requested a reporter from Carnegie Mellon University to cover the event.
Something to keep in mind when an individual outside the organization team is representing the event is that they could inadvertently skew your message. This was a large benefit to us when working with a reporter from Carnegie Mellon. They were willing to allow us to screen their completed article before being posted so that we could correct any wording or messaging errors made. If you cannot find someone willing to let you do this, at least screen it yourself after the article goes live to send any corrections you have after the fact.
8.4 Following up with Participants
One of your final considerations for your ChairJam should be following up with participants. You can get valuable information from them regarding how they felt the event went, if you accomplished your goals, and what could have been handled better. While there are some generic questions you can ask, such as those previously mentioned, you may also want to ask specific questions that crop up during the running of the event itself. A simple and quick way to get these questions out after the event is, again, a Google Form. Be conscious of how many questions you add and how you format this questionnaire. People can easily be scared off by a questionnaire with more than 10 questions. It is recommended that you try to keep the questionnaire down to around 5 good questions. If you add more, consider making them optional so that people will still give you responses even if they don’t want to dedicate a significant amount of time.
We strongly recommend including a question in the follow-up about whether or not the participant would be willing to meet for an in-person discussion about the event. A phone call or Skype meeting would be great options as well. These will give you the opportunity to collect much more information than a simple Google Form. Regardless of how it is done, we recommend following up with the participants at most 2 weeks afterward. Any longer and the participants may become forgetful about the event or focused on other matters.